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Dr. R. E. Kleinsorge and Brown irises

By the editors from a tape interview with Dr. Kleinsorge by Robert Schreiner
All photos from Cooley's Garden catalogs. In order: Far West, Tobacco Road, Treasure Island, Mexico. This could be many stories, It could be the story of a young doctor who built a new home in 1914, and who employed Howard Weed to landscape the yard. Among the landscape plants were some irises advanced for that time, and this could be the story of how Dr. Kleinsorge became interested in hybridizing irises. Or it could he the story of how Rholin Cooley came by to see these irises, received a handful of little seedlings, and thus went on to become interested in irises and to become a titan in irisdom. It could be the story of RANGER. CASCADE SPLENDOR, SOLID GOLD and GRAND CANYON, still splendid irises in the dark red self, the yellow blend, the full ye/low and the dark violet blend classes. Or it could be the story of that remarkably small plot of ground, about 50" by 100", from which came twenty Award of Merit winners from 1942 to 1959. Or it could be a story in yet another vein, that of the great impact of Dr. Kleinsorge on the medicine and the education of Oregon. iris - far west But these sto [...]

Confusion Confounded

~ Geddes Douglas, TN 1953
What do I mean by season of bloom? I ask that question in all sincerity, not for the reason that I think others might be confused, but rather that I myself am not sure I understand what I mean when I use even the three simplest terms - early, midseason, and late. There was a time not too long ago when there was no problem. Things were relatively simple for the reason that I know nothing to confuse me. I simply grew tall bearded iris and nothing else. Santa Barbara, The Bishop and At Dawning were early irises; Joycette, Jean Cayeux and Dauntless were midseason; and Blue Grotto, Saracen and Ebony Princess were late irises. The iris season extended oven an interval of some five weeks with a period of about three weeks of concentrated mass bloom. Varieties in the limelight at that moment (1935-1936) included Creole Belle, Junaluska, Snow King, The Red Douglas and Missouri while Shah Jehan and Orloff were being hailed as great steps forward in their respective classes. Vaguely I was aware of a large class of irises which bloomed somewhat earlier than the novelties of the day, but they were flowers of the people who just had gardens and were not the favorites of the enthusiasts whose attention I so ardently courted at the moment. [...]

The Best Irises

by Neltje Blanchan | Photographs by F. A. Waugh
the siberian iris Little wonder that a plant so boldly decorative in outline and bearing a flower of exquisite coloring so marvelously formed should make its strongest appeal to the artistic Japanese. From these foremost gardeners of the world has come a strain of irises that neither orchids nor lilies can rival in beauty of form, texture, coloring, markings, and general effectiveness. In the Mikado's garden, under ideal cultural conditions - that is to say, in rich, warm, sunny, alluvial land - the blossoms will measure from nine to twelve inches across their flat petals. Around the shores of those miniature lakes and streams in which the Japanese gardener, however humble, delights, the irises are no less lovely because a small garden demands that they be of lesser size. Every one appreciates the iris in Japan. Therefore, on the most costly cloisonné and ceramic, as well as on "many a vase and jar, on many a screen and fan," whose decorator may receive only an eighth of a cent for his sketchy painting, this flower, imperial and democratic, is the most familiar. For the artist, at least, its valu [...]
There are new frontiers to explore in the flower garden and you are advised to keep a wide open eye on the new varieties of iris. They help you to recapture that delectable thrill of discovery and accomplishment. organic gardening & farming, 1958 Cover photo by Shostal Studios of New York. The adventurous soul finds precious few frontiers left to explore these days. An emphatic exception to the rule is the adventurous gardener, but rarely does even he find a more fruitful and expanding horizon lhan in iris growing. Topnotch plant suppliers compete in breeding the biggest, the most decorative, the most colorful, the tallest, or the most versatile iris of the year, hoping to win the attention of the average gardener, or even capture the sought-after Dykes Memorial Medal. The new soft pink and clear red varieties in the tall bearded class have caught the imagination of iris beginners and enthusiasts. Happy Birthday, a flamingo pink, and Mary Randall, a rich rose pink, polled second and third in the American Iris Society's annual popularity contest. These run fairly expensive, up to $7 [...]

1929 Checklist – Introduction

Alphabetical Iris Check List 1929 To The Unnamed

In 1922 AND 1923 the American Iris Society published abbreviated check lists (Bulletins 4 and 8) of Irises considered to be in commerce but omitting, for reasons of expense of printing, several thousand older Irises that were believed to be obsolete. Research, however, has been continued and this present work attempts to publish all that is know about Iris names that have appeared in gardening literature during the last hundred or more years. The officers have felt that this information which had been compiled by much hard work, was of great value for students and ought to be placed in permanent and available form.

Before the abbreviated lists were published, seven typewritten editions appeared in the years 1919 to 1921. It is from the seventh edition that much of the material in the present list has been drawn, but continued research has brought to light much additional information. Many new species and hundreds of [...]

A Little Iris History

Notes on varieties grown between 1900-1920 by John C. Wister First President, American Iris Society

a-little-iris-history-jacUp to about 1910 the Iris in American gardens were loosely known as Flags or German Iris. The word German came from the plant Linnaeus had named Iris germanica, because it had been sent to him from a German garden. It was to be seen in many gardens blooming in mid-May along with Florentina and a purple self similar to what we now know as Kochii. In early June in New England there were to be seen such varieties as Albert Victor, Flavescens, Aurea, Honorabile, Mme. Chereau, Victorine, Neglecta, Sambucina and Jacquesiana.

Most of the persons who had these in their gardens did not know these names or their origin. They were just “flags” and they bloomed year after year with little attention.

Between 1910 and 1920, new varieties began to appear in European and American catalogs. The few [...]

In 1925, popular garden magazine ‘The Flower Grower’, asked its readers for input as to the best 25 Iris for American growers, regardless of color, price or rating. Mr Robert Wayman, well regarded iris collector and commercial grower responded with his list of 25. The list gives us some interesting insights into what constitutes a ‘good’ iris in those days. Here is Mr Wayman’s response published in Oct 1925 by ‘The Flower Grower’.

“In the list given below, while I am ignoring price, I am not including the very expensive recent introductions, which have not yet proven themselves entirely reliable. All of those mentioned are perfectly hardy, free flowering, easy to handle, and are quite dependable. There are one or two that require special care, but this is noted and they are worth it.

  • AMBASSADEUR: This variety, in my opinion,.comes at the head of the list, having received a rating by the American Iris [...]

Award Winning Siberians 1920-1961:

A Starting Place by Anne Lowe, VA

The 1991 National Convention showed us more than a few Siberian Irises in bloom, many of which were gen-u-ine antiques. Since several of the tour garden owners are active HIPS members, it is not surprising that a number of older Siberians are grown in Region 4.

For example, Caesar’s Brother was seen blooming uniformly well in almost every tour garden – further evidence of what a stellar performer it is! I found several beautiful oldies which I had ‘seen’ only in print and I came away with at least a dozen of these antiques on my 1991 iris Want List. How wonderful that Siberian cultivars don’t go “out of Style;” that the form and color of Nigrescens (1875) is just as pleasing as any of the more recent offerings – that Nigrescens is a proven survivor is a real plus for the Sib fancier.

Back to the subject at hand: OK, so beauty is in [...]

Robert Wayman’s Royal Fifty

The Crown Jewels of Irisdom

Reprinted from the Flower Grower, July 1937

Crown Jewels are always the finest in the realm. The famous Koh-I-Noor diamond now graces the crown of England’s queen, and many another famous gem has found a permanent home in a royal crown. Just as the lapidarian chooses with infinite pains the most perfect jewels for a crown, so I have selected for my “Royal Fifty”, iris of the most enchanting shades and blends and the most perfect form and texture.

I have grown and tested every worthwhile variety that has appeared in the last quarter century, more than three thousand in all. I have raised additional thousands of seedlings, the result of my own hybridizing. The fifty varieties offered below represent those which have survived every test I could give them. They are the “Crown Jewels of Irisdom”.

BLUE VELVET: 46″ The entire flower seems to be cut out of velvet; the color is an intense [...]

Carl Salbach on Iris

Popular Iris 75 Years Ago

Carl Salbach, one of the great iris hybridizers of the early part of the 20th century wrote an article for Better Homes and Gardens, June 1930, describing the bearded iris, and its culture, including popular ‘modern’ iris suggestions in all colors for the home gardener. So what were Mr. Salbach’s selections? Following is an excerpt from that article, and all of his picks are included here.

Remember this is 1930. How many of these varieties are still in existence today?

He tells us that the color range and combinations are limitless. The lavender and lavender-blues are most numerous. ANN PAGE, CLARIDAD, CONQUISTADOR, LADY FOSTER, LEONATO, SAN GABRIEL and SANTA BARBARA are all good examples. GOLD CREST and MIRANDA are fine violet-blues of medium height and fine for mass effect, while MADAME GAUDICHEAU, a deep violet-blue adds to any garden.

iris frieda mohr, mrs. valerie west, seminoleAMBASSADEUR, with bronzy violet [...]

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